A young Leitrim who had “miraculously recovered” from severe brain and spine injuries sustained in a traffic crash died two months later in hospital from what doctors described as an “extremely rare” medical event, an investigation has been heard.
Ryan Doyle, 19, of Cornacariva, Ballinamore, Co Leitrim, was a passenger in the back seat of a silver Volkswagen Golf that failed to bend on a road in Drumreilly, Ballinamore on September 17, 2016.
An inquest into Mr. Doyle’s death heard that he suffered massive bleeding after more than two months while a doctor was removing a tube from his airway at Beaumont Hospital on November 22, 2016.
Mr. Doyle went into cardiac arrest and died shortly thereafter in the operating room.
A Dublin Coroner’s Court hearing last week heard that Mr Doyle was found ‘hanging from the rear window’ before being taken by ambulance to Cavan General Hospital and later transferred to Beaumont Hospital in Dublin due to the severity of his injuries.
Consultant neurosurgeon, Stephen McNally, said scans showed serious abnormalities in the patient’s brain, while he also suffered a fractured spine as well as serious injuries to his lungs.
The investigation heard that two operations to remove a piece of glass from his lungs were unsuccessful.
McNally said Mr. Doyle was doing “much better and very well” than the medical staff had expected upon his admission to hospital.
“For such a severe injury, he was breaking all the rules,” he said.
Mr McNally said the patient was scheduled to go to the National Rehabilitation Hospital in Dún Laoghaire to recover after being discharged from Beaumont.
John McNulty, Doyle’s family attorney, also noted that his relatives believed he was “miraculously recovering.”
McNally said he had only seen a patient die in similar circumstances once before.
The investigation heard that a tracheostomy – an opening in the neck to allow a tube to be inserted into the windpipe – was performed on Mr. Doyle in order to take him off the ventilator.
Consultant anesthesiologist, James O’Rourke, said the bleeding a patient experienced while the tube was removed could happen at any time.
After being examined by Mr. McNulty, he expressed confidence in the ability of the physician who removed the tube and emphasized that the removal of the tube was a very smooth procedure and was in no way painful.
Dr. O’Rourke told Beaumont Hospital attorney Conor Halpin that what happened was extremely rare and only occurred in 7 out of every 1,000 cases.
He said it was “extensive” bleeding which resulted in Mr Doyle requiring a transfusion of 14 ounces of blood.
The anesthesiologist said he was expecting some warning signs but there was no evidence of any bleeding until that point.
However, he said it should be “about to happen for a while”.
Dr O’Rourke said all medical staff in Beaumont did their best to prevent what he described as a “horrific tragedy”.
Head and neck injury specialist James O’Neill, who has attempted life-saving surgery on Mr. Doyle, said bleeding of this magnitude was exceptionally rare.
Professor O’Neill said he had never had such a fistula – an abnormal connection between two parts of the body – and could provide no explanation for why it formed and why the patient experienced such bleeding.
Garda’s General Motors Inspector Kevin Jones told the court that the Volkswagen Golf’s front left tire was defective but did not believe it was a contributing factor to the actual collision.
The crash investigator, Sgt. PJ Gallagher, said the car crashed into a mud bank and two trees after it failed to make a bend on the road between Ballinamore and Newtownore.
He described how a Volkswagen Golf, in which there were four passengers, ended up on its roof about 55 meters from its impact with trees.
The investigation heard that the car’s engine and gearbox were separated from the main body of the vehicle by the force of the collision.
Sergeant Gallagher said he found no evidence of any malfunction in the car that could have caused the accident.
However, he was not able to calculate the speed at which the car was traveling at the point of impact.
In response to a question from Mr. McNulty, Sergeant Gallagher agreed that the car might have been traveling in excess of the 80 km/h speed limit because he had safely negotiated the turn at the maximum permissible speed.
The investigation heard that a urine test on a Volkswagen Golf driver was found to have exceeded the legal limit for drunk driving by more than twice.
Driver Liam Taylor, 26, of Aughavas, Co Leitrim, was given a 16-month suspended sentence in Carrick-on-Shannon Circuit Court in July 2020 and was disqualified from driving for 15 years after pleading guilty to a reckless driving charge. death causing.
He was also ordered to perform 240 hours of community service in lieu of a 12-month prison sentence after pleading guilty to a separate charge of drunk driving.
The coroner, Claire Keane, heard that the autopsy showed that Mr. Doyle had died of hypovolemic shock and haemorrhage as a result of a fistula between the artery and trachea due to injuries sustained in the accident.
Based on the evidence, Dr. Kane returned a verdict in a medical accident.
In a statement on behalf of Doyle’s family, Mr MacNeault said they were pleased to conclude the investigation, but said his untimely death in the course of a normal medical procedure was “heartbreaking and heartbreaking”.
“Ryan was simply a wonderful person who has always been and will always be greatly missed,” said Mr. McNulty.
He said it was disappointing that no greater effort had been made to get the doctor who performed the operation to give a statement to the forensic doctor.